In some pediatric practices, injections have entered the weapon. Children’s Medical Group, a private practice in Atlanta, ordered doses immediately after being licensed and received its first shipment on Monday, the Juneteenth holiday. They start their vaccinations at lunchtime. “We have a huge need,” said Jennifer Shu, a practicing pediatrician and editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We even had calls from patients in other clinics whose doctors did not carry any Covid vaccines for this age group.”
As that suggests – like parents report on twitter– Availability varies. This may be due to those pre-forecasting low absorption rates; practices and hospitals may not want to invest in cryo space and staff time if they are not expecting much interest. But it could also be due to the bureaucratic hurdles that have plagued Covid vaccination since its early days. Unlike almost all other vaccines, this one doesn’t come from a commercial distributor. It is distributed by the federal government and pooled through state health departments. So, to get it, healthcare providers must complete CDC paperwork. This is true even if they are already enrolled in other government programs, including Vaccines for Children (known as VFC), which guarantees vaccines to families without private health insurance.
“The participation of providers who typically participate in the VFC program has been excellent,” said Marcus Plescia, physician and chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “It’s a slower process to bring it into private practice sites. They’re not used to being part of a government-run vaccine program. Some of them don’t want to do it because of the paperwork and hassle.”
Childhood vaccination programs may also be hampered by another long-standing issue: the size of vaccine vials. Each holds 10 doses and must be used within 12 hours once thawed and opened. “Pediatricians, in particular, don’t like wasting vaccines. They see it as a precious commodity,” Hannan said. “Having them order enough vials a day to have vaccines in stock, while they might vaccinate one person and throw away nine doses because you don’t have nine other kids — that’s a challenge.”
Another complicating factor is that all Covid protections to date, including vaccination, have been unevenly distributed. Half of those 19 million children under age 5 are children of color; 41% rely on Medicaid for insurance and 4.5% are uninsured, according to Kaiser’s analysis. With public spaces, pharmacies and schools unable to help the youngest children, there will be additional pressure on community and federally qualified medical centers to help children near them. “We know from every part of the outreach that some of the most disadvantaged groups are not vaccinated at the same rate early on,” said Jen Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Foundation. “These children are due to many different Vulnerable for the same reasons, no one wants them to suffer disproportionately or have difficulty accessing this intervention.”
At this point, experts want to absorb slowly, not Do not ingest. Parents whose kids are about to have a health checkup or a summer appointment to get them ready for exercise may choose to wait a few months rather than make a special trip. This has pros and cons: It makes kids more susceptible to Covid-19, but it normalizes vaccines, just one of a number of vaccines they get in their early years.
For some parents, the problem isn’t timing, it’s trust. They need extra patience from people within the healthcare system as they solve problems, perhaps as they did for themselves last year. “At their next pediatrician’s appointment, they may ask for a conversation — not the same as calling the office,” said Angela K. Shen, a visiting research scientist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who studies attitudes toward vaccination. different” to schedule vaccinations. “This may require multiple conversations with their brothers, sisters, pharmacists, and pediatricians. These people in the middle are the people the public health information strategy wants to go after, answering their questions in a non-paternalistic way.”